HEY, LOVER BOY by Thomas Rockwell


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Thirteen-year-old Paul Nesbit is a cut-up, and this begins with a series of ridiculous classroom take-offs on well-known plays and genres--burlesques in which sometimes Paul, sometimes Rockwell himself, is mocking the 7th-grade student script writers. There's much funny stuff here, but it gets tiresome. However, that might be the point. For it turns out that some of Paul's classmates have become fed up with his jokes at others' expense. In the beginning, Paul has decided that classmate Margaret's play is too silly to play straight, so he plays his romantic part as a drunk. Instead of acting mad, Margaret writes him mushy notes, climbs in his bedroom window with a suitcase full of nightgowns, and invites him behind the barn to play strip poker. He's just beginning to get interested--but then her layers and layers of clothing at the poker game make him realize that she's been setting him up. This time, the joke's on Paul, and the whole school laughs. There's a method, then, to the nonsense, but not too heavy a moral. First, the Margaret action is interspersed with Paul's hilarious downtown odyssey to find out about sex--he believes he can avoid having his own play produced if he makes it pornographic, but he's not quite sure just what goes on in pornography. Finally, in the last scene, Paul gets back at the whole class with his slyly soft-porn science-fiction sendup. It's a funny story, told with clipped, shotgun timing, a smattering of innocent, seventh-grade-level raunch, and a real awareness of the intensities and overwhelming uncertainties of early adolescence.

Pub Date: May 22nd, 1981
Publisher: Delacorte